Golden Pond School Brings the STEAM to Learning!

website-refresh-april-2011-027As it is widely acknowledged that literacy is the cornerstone of all learning, the manner in which we teachers approach literacy is essential. A school’s approach to literacy sends all kinds of messages to students. For instance, we could tell them that print is all about phonemes and decoding as we sit them in front of a workbook. Or we could announce to them that unlocking the secrets of print is an exciting journey that will simultaneously unlock the secrets of the vibrant world around them as we delve into interesting projects. We prefer the latter – wouldn’t you?!

At Golden Pond School, we have chosen to link our students first steps into literacy with the exploration of the world around them, as reflected through children’s literature. Our hands-on, science-based activities are built upon the theme-related books that our children are enjoying. On any given day, after reading stimulating and thought provoking classic children’s literature, our students can be found:

  • discovering how chicks hatch
  • taking rain walks
  • painting with ice cubes
  • mixing red and yellow to make the perfect orange
  • planting pumpkins
  • constructing weathervanes
  • exploring the metamorphosis of ladybugs
  • taking spider walks
  • going on worm hunts

Come see the fun and ask the kids “why?” – you’ll be surprised by their scientific responses!

GPS Students Raise $1,000 in an Hour for Flood Victims

We are so incredibly proud of our students for their caring and commitment to giving back. What a wonderful display of community support we saw at our bake sale to support families devastated by the recent floods in West Virginia. The event was organized by 6-year-old Golden Pond student, Kendall Leitch. Many thanks to all who participated in this special event. Our extended GPS family contributed over $1,000 in just one hour!

Check out the coverage from NBC Washington below!

Golden Pond School: Great Futures Start Here!

We did it! We’re proud to report that Golden Pond’s rising kindergarten students (4 year olds and junior kindergarten classes) have again exceeded the top end of the Virginia development range for the Phonological Awareness Literacy Screening (PALS).PALS_scores-GoldenPondSchool

PALS provides a comprehensive assessment of a young child’s knowledge of important literacy fundamentals. This test is an approved screening tool for the state of Virginia, and is an indicator of early reading success. 99% of all school divisions in the state use this tool on a voluntary basis. Educators are then able to use the information from PALS to plan appropriate instruction for each student and to intervene early to prevent reading problems. All kindergarteners are administered this test as they begin their first year in Loudoun County Public Schools.

Golden Pond students have shown outstanding – and improved – scores every year!

“At Golden Pond, we understand that early reading success forecasts later academic success for our children, and we’re proud that our students’ marvelous PALS scores show that,” said owner Kathie Burrell.”

In 2007, Golden Pond School began screening preschoolers who are going on to kindergarten with the PALS – PreK test in the spring.

“We started this process because we felt it would benefit our students to take the test in preschool, administered by someone that they know and trust rather than being exposed to the test for the first time as they begin a new school year at a potentially new school with a new teacher,” said Burrell.

This is just one of the many ways Golden Pond School equips its students with an educational advantage.

“We also knew that this was a way for us to see how well our school had prepared our students to take the next step in their educational journey,” she said.

As can be seen from these results, the median score achieved by Golden Pond School students exceeded the top end of the Virginia development range. In several of the test components, 99% of Golden Pond students scored at or above the top end of the Virginia development range.

Golden Pond School is currently enrolling for the 2016-17 school year!
GPS now provides year-round quality enrichment from 7:30am-6pm in its Stay and Play program. Learn more at

Parents are encouraged to see for themselves why GPS was recently voted the #1 Private Preschool by the readers of Posh Seven magazine. To schedule a private tour and learn more about the school’s fully accredited programs, email or call 703-723-7663.

A­­­­­­BOUT GOLDEN POND SCHOOL: Serving children ages 2.5 to 7, Golden Pond School enrolls more than 300 students each year in its second-to-none preschool, kindergarten, kindergarten enrichment and extended school programs. The private school’s intimate campus includes 12 classrooms and three age-appropriate, well-equipped playgrounds. Every classroom has at least two teachers and is designed to be a rich, interactive learning environment. Learn more at

Summer Trip Tips

TripTipsPacking up for a summer vacation? Check out and share ways to make your car ride extra fun with our Golden Pond School Trip Tips!

  1. Can You Name?: 3 body parts, 3 animals with tails, 3 red things,
  2. Count Cars: by color (blue) and by type (truck)
  3. Sing: Nursery Rhymes and family favorites
  4. Pipe Cleaners: Make letters, numbers and people
  5. Can You Think Of: 2 BLUE foods?! Something tiny?! Something hot?!
  6. Follow the Leader: 2 hand claps, 3 shoulder shrugs, 1 eye blink
  7. Simon Says: Put Your Hand on Your Head
  8. Family Trivia: Who in your family likes to eat peas?
  9. Virtual Hide & Seek: “Hide” somewhere in your house and your family asks Yes or No questions to find you! Be any size you want!
  10. Unfortunately, Fortunately Story Telling – 1st Player: Fortunately, I met a fairy. 2nd Player: Unfortunately, she could not fly! Keep going until you tell a whole story – the sillier the better!
  11. Would You Rather?: Would you rather be a butterfly or a bee?!
  12. I Spy with my Little Eyes: Something blue, with 4 wheels, has small letters on it (car)


Summer Trip Tips

Summer Trip Tips

15 Ideas for Summer Days

  1. news1Make something in the kitchen involving the use of measuring cups.
  2. After a rainstorm go outside and find things for every color of the rainbow.
  3. Go outside and find things for the sense of touch, things that are smooth, rough, prickly, sharp, hard, soft, dry or wet. Make a log of your discoveries!
  4. My Picture Story: Have your child draw a picture and then tell you about it. Write your child’s story on the back and then read it to them.
  5. Measure items in your house by the length of your finger, hand and arm. Make a chart.  Then try measuring using a ruler.  Compare the results! 
  6. Write a letter or thank you note to someone special.
  7. Make a scrapbook of your summer adventures
  8. Go on a nature hike, collect things and put them in a picture.
  9. Pretend you are a giant.
  10. Make a list of everything you can find that is yellow! Next try your favorite color!
  11. Hunt for rocks –  See if you can find 10 unusual rocks.
  12. The “What’s Missing?” game: Find 4-6 objects and arrange them on a tray. Have someone look at them for 5 seconds and then cover their eyes while you take one of the items away. Can they guess what is missing?
  13. Have a paper airplane contest; who can make a paper airplane that flies the furthest?
  14. The “Direction Game” Have someone tell you three directions and see if you can do them correctly and in the right order. Example: Clap your hands 5 times. Look out the window. Come back to the kitchen.

Download PDF >

Register Now for Ashburn’s Most Unique Camp Experience!

news2Still looking for an amazing summer experience for your kids? They can Play, Learn, Cook and Splash with us!

We offer camps for preschoolers (ages 3-4) as well as kindergartners through third graders. Our goal is to provide a unique camp experience with innovative ideas and creative themes to inspire campers as they explore new friendships and reconnect with old friends. All campers can look forward to cooking, in-house field trips, art, water slides, games and activities, science, stories, sports and daily hands-on excitement! Our school-age campers will also enjoy special off-campus field trips!


  • Games Galore: July 5 – 8
    Roll the dice, spin the wheel or slide your game piece! Everyday is Game Day! From family favorites to new fangled fun, we will play until the day is done. Campers can be their own token on our life sized board or help build a one of a kind putt-putt course. Golden Pond campers – let the games begin!
  • The Lab Coat: July 11 – 15
    Find inspiration and think out of the box as we delve deep into concepts of sound, air and matter in our STEM camp. Lab coats and imaginative experiments will be provided for all ages! Experiment with screaming balloons and even watch matter change into a tasty treat right before your eyes!
  • Finger Lickin’ Fun: July 18-22
    Cups aren’t just for drinking out of anymore! Stir up a scrumptious breakfast, a delicious lunch and a sweet treat – all in a cup! Join us as we get a little cheesy, create edible picture frames and sweet candy paintings!
  • What Goes Up Must Come Down: July 25 – 29
    Defy gravity with an epic egg drop! Campers will be challenged and entertained as they experiment with magnets, mazes, catapults and inclined planes. The week will end with magnificent geysers and fizzing experiments – activities designed to bring the house down!
  • Water Work: August 1 – 5
    Put the splish in your splash as we celebrate the hottest days of summer! Chilly ice races, floating art and water limbo are just a few of the cool water-centered activities and fun we have planned! This ‘hot’ water theme is sure to cool everyone off!
  • Reading Camp (rising K – first grade): July 18-29
    Your children have come so far with their literacy skills during this school year! We encourage you to keep the momentum going and hope you child will join us for this two week session. Campers will experience reading through exciting games (both indoor and outdoor) led by highly qualified Golden Pond School teachers

Our summer camps are led by our very own professional Golden Pond teachers and staff. We offer an Extended Day for all registered campers, available weekly from 7:30am-9am and again from 1pm – 6pm. We also provide a daily drop-in and hourly drop-in option! Parents may register campers for drop-in the Friday prior to each week based on availability.

Camp Hours:

  • Morning camp hours 9:00a – 1:00p
  • Before camp hours 7:30a – 9:00am
  • Extended day camp hours 1:00p – 6:00p


Introducing Stay and Play

news3Golden Pond School is listening to our parent community and as a result, we are pleased to announce that we will offer a preschool option from 7:30am-6:00pm beginning with the 2016-17 school year.

Our priority is always to maintain the structure and integrity of our outstanding curriculum but it is necessary to remain thoughtful to the suggestion by many families that GPS offer a preschool extension beyond Lunch Bunch hours (11:30-1:30). With this in mind, Golden Pond School is pleased to announce that we will offer a “Stay and Play” option to our preschool students enrolled in the following 5 day morning programs: 3s, Explorers, 4s, and AM Junior Kindergarten. This means that your preschool student will still enjoy the engaging morning curriculum in that program’s regular classroom until 11:30. Then, children in the “Stay and Play” program may move to a different classroom where they will have lunch and an afternoon snack, recess, nap/quiet time, circle time, table activities and more. “Stay and Play” will be open each week day and offers parents the flexibility to drop off children as early as 7:30am (for breakfast) and pick up as late as 6:00pm.

Golden Pond School is well-known for our unique home visits, so in order to ensure that our preschool teachers have them completed, the first day of 5 day preschool and Stay and Play will be September 6, 2016. Additionally, there will be an Open House for Extended School and Stay and Play students on Friday, August 26, 2016 from 1:00-2:00. This will be an excellent opportunity for your children to meet their extended school teachers and visit their extended school classroom.

We will continue to offer the Kindergarten/Kindergarten Enrichment Extended School as well as the Extended School program for 1st-3rd grade students. These programs will begin on August 29, 2016, the currently scheduled first day of school for Loudoun County students. This remains a valuable after-school resource providing students with a comfortable, fun and familiar place to spend the afternoon while enjoying recess, snack, theme-related and free choice activities, and homework assistance. The LCPS schools that Golden Pond picks up from are determined based upon demand; therefore, your request should be submitted early in the enrollment process (program request details to follow in a few weeks).

All Golden Pond School Programs will follow the Loudoun County Public School calendar with these exceptions:

  • the first day of school for preschool programs
  • Extended School for Kindergarten/Kindergarten Enrichment, 1st-3rd, and Stay and Play programs ONLY will follow the Federal Government inclement weather policy.

We hope that the new Stay and Play option for 2016-2017 helps accommodate the needs of the greater Ashburn community. Please email with any questions you may have regarding this new offering.

New Parent Survey Results

It is our privilege to partner with our parents and teachers to provide a high quality, brain based education for our students. We recently surveyed parents who are new to GPS to gauge their level of satisfaction with our enrollment process and our programs. The feedback was overwhelmingly positive. Thank you to all parents who completed the survey! We always welcome input from our parents – it is the best way to gauge the things we are doing well and also to pinpoint areas where we can improve. A sampling of parent responses from the survey are shared below.

When asked why parents chose GPS we received the following comments:

  • Top notch teachers, curriculum, resource rich environment, safe environment, infuse learning and fun.
  • By far, GPS had superior curriculum and approach to learning. Based on the materials I was given, I was assured GPS developed their curriculum around play-based learning appropriate for my 4-year old. Everyone I met at GPS was lovely, warm and welcoming and that was important as well!
  • The structure and organization of the school made us feel very comfortable. Environment seemed like a true school, not a daycare. Curriculum was age appropriate and seemed to be taught in a way that would engage a child.

When asked if parents would recommend GPS to a friend we received the following comments:

  • My daughter is learning so much. She is telling stories, counting her numbers in Spanish, doing math. I am amazed as to how much she has progressed in a month.
  • We are very impressed with the overall feeling of family and excitement of staff for the upcoming year. The school’s focus on providing a smooth transition for my 2 1/2 yr old has impressed me and seems like a good indicator of the care the school will give throughout the year!

Regarding what parents like best about GPS so far:

  • Everyone is warm and friendly and you can tell that it is a special place where the kids are learning in a nurturing environment.
  • I love that my daughter comes home talking about it daily. She loves it! I also like the structure and the diverse learning environment. Spanish 2 days/week is fabulous!

Golden Pond welcomes feedback from our families throughout the school year. We take notice of the areas where improvement is desired, and advance in areas indicated as meaningful and highly valued. Stop by Mrs. Moriarty’s office any time to offer comments and suggestions, or just to say “Hi”. At Golden Pond we value relationships and look forward to getting to know you better.

2016-17 Enrollment Begins

OK, so you’ve heard people talk and gush about how fabulous Golden Pond School is. Why the hype? Does a child’s brain actually grow when exposed to different things? What does “developmentally appropriate” and “play-based learning” mean? Can home visits make a difference in your child’s educational experience?

The best advice I can give you is to come in and take a look for yourself. It is not too soon to schedule a tour and discover if our school is the right fit for your family. Sign up for a private tour, or a “First Look Friday” on our website ( or contact for more information.

New families can start submitting applications for the 2016-17 school year on October 1. Sign up now and lock in your first choice!

What is the Parent Group?

Golden Pond School’s Parent Group offers wonderful ways to get involved, meet people, and enhance your family’s Golden Pond experience! The parents that comprise our Parent Group are interested in enriching their children’s educational experiences in a variety of ways. The Parent Group offers opportunities to teach children to give back to our community through charitable events, helps foster a sense of community within the school through fun social events and shows appreciation for school staff.

The Parent Group will host the annual Parent Group Social – a great kick off to the school year. Parents are invited to join us and enjoy some treats while getting to know the Golden Pond Parent Group, staff and other Golden Pond School families. Please join us from 6:00-9:00pm on September 30, 2015 at:

The Civic Center at the Hunt
20109 Boxwood Pl.
Ashburn, VA

We hope to see you there!